HOORAY FOR HAT!
by Brian Won – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt & Koala Books, Scholastic Australia Pty Limited, 2014
ages 0 to 6 years / emotional resilience, funny
Of all the things I like about Hooray for Hat!, my favourite is that there’s a whole lot of grumpy going on! Elephant wakes up grumpy, Zebra is grumpy, so are Turtle, Owl, and Lion.
And the best thing about grumpy is that it’s not the same as sad. Grumpy is about being bad tempered or testy.
Unlike sadness or anxiety or depression, grumpy is something we can pretty much always choose to change. Of course, a bit of help can go a long way to getting us over it. A surprise, a gift from a friend, something bright and joyful – any of these can help us move away from grumpy.
That’s what happens when Elephant wakes up grumpy – he finds a present on his doorstep. It’s a fabulous and shareable hat! Instantly Elephant lets go of grumpy and sets out to show his friend Zebra.
Zebra is grumpy too – but then Elephant takes part of his hat and gives it to Zebra, and Zebra lets go of grumpy too.
The same thing happens with Turtle and Owl.
But when the happy crew reach Lion, it’s a slightly different story. Lion is grumpy because friend Giraffe is not feeling well. This time all the friends combine their hats to make another fabulous hat for Giraffe – who starts to feel a bit better too.
Every time a hat cheers up a grumpy animal they shout:
‘Hooray for Hat!’
This is a great read-it-before-you-need-it book. Although, to be fair, grumpy happens so often that most every child will have already ‘needed’ it. Still, it’s a book to read during happy times to be ready for the grumpy times that surely will come!
Hooray for Hat is also great for:
Little ones who wish they could read – it’s fun to shout ‘Hooray for Hat’ along with the animals.
Talking about facial cues – for example, we can tell that Elephant is grumpy before it’s stated because his eyebrows are furrowed, his arms are folded and his mouth is turned down.
Thinking about how simple actions can help someone else – Elephant shares his good fortune and helps others to get over their own grumpiness.
Considering the difference between grumpy and other emotions like sad, worried, annoyed and so on.
Stimulating art ideas and gift-giving ideas – it’s fun to make celebratory hats like the animals wear and to think about someone who might like a surprise present left on their doorstep.
In spite of the grumpiness throughout the book, this is a joyful and funny book, made more so by the charming illustrations. The hat is bright and cheery, and its many incarnations as parts are passed to different animals - it's fun to look at closely to discover its quirks. The animals are cute and full of emotion and life.
Even babies could enjoy this story. It’s quick to read, has just enough repetition to make it fun to anticipate the next words, the pictures are clear and uncluttered. Young children will quickly ‘get the point’ but won't feel nagged or preached to.